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ODDS & ENDS
The Couch Lesson
Teachings of a Three Year Old... Turned Tyke.

by Hal Evan Caplan
December 14, 2009

The Couch Lesson_Hal Evan Caplan-Teachings of a Three Year Old... Turned Tyke.My tyke is my teacher, even during stressful times and situations. Learning can and does happen on a regular basis. These lessons that I am to learn or that I am reminded of happen often and without notice. The fact that I am caught off guard some of the time, and can even be in the middle of a lesson without realizing it, shows me that I still have a lot to learn. Luckily, my teacher is there with his lesson to share.

Like most people in today's workforce, I work long hours at my job. And like most people, I am exhausted by the end of the workday and definitely at the end of the work week. When I am at this level, nothing sounds better to me than to just "veg" out on the couch and watch a little TV and not have to think at the moment.

On this day, I was hoping for just that kind of moment. I came home from work, changed out of my business attire and laid on the couch to relax for a little while. My teacher was in his art/play room, plugging away at his current art masterpiece. I was pleased to know that because he had paint, markers, colored pencils and even crayons scattered around him, he would be busy for some time, giving me a chance to relax.

Less than 30 seconds after I was on the couch, my teacher walked into the living room, where I was laying on the couch, and showed me his work. It was very cool and I expressed how impressed I was to see such an amazing piece of artwork. He then explained that he had a lot more work to do on it, which was just fine with me because I figured this would give me more time to relax. As usual, Murphy's Law would be invoked and the situation would prove otherwise. And of course, without knowing it, I was in the middle of yet another lesson from my teacher.

Within 5 minutes, my teacher darted into the living room and conveyed that it was time for our bike ride around the neighborhood. As you can imagine, I was a little confused. I mean, how could his art project already be complete? He was just in the living room showing me his unfinished project.

"How can you already be done?" I asked.
"I'm a fast art painter." He replied
"But don't you want to make sure your art isn't rushed?" I noted, hoping to gain more time on the couch.
"It's done... LET'S GO!" He responded.

When my teacher noticed that I was not as optimistic about riding my bike around the neighborhood as he was, he expressed that I would be sorry. I'm not really sure why I would be sorry, but I certainly did not expect a lesson to appear...

Usually, I would have been up and raring to go on the bike ride, but I am recovering from a knee injury that kept me out from doing any sports or activities. I only recently returned to playing hockey and mountain bike riding after being out for 10 weeks. So, my enthusiasm was not so great. Yes, I was still a little nervous about participating in any sport. I had been taking it very, very easy, and was not getting the exercise I was accustomed to on a regular basis, so unfortunately, I gained some weight.

"Come on Dad; let's go ride our bikes around the neighborhood."
"Give me a minute..." I asked.
"Well, then let's ride our scooters." He retorted.
"I need to just relax." I pleaded.
"But you are FAT." He shot back.

Okay now, can you say – "ouch!" That one hurt...

"Listen, I'm exhausted dude, just give me some time to relax." I explained.
"Dad, the way to get that fat off your belly is to exercise." He insisted.
"I agree that exercise is one of the best things you can do, but I need to just sit here for a little bit." I concluded.

As I said this, I got "the look" from my wife, who happened to be in the room as well and had also expressed that I get back to exercising very soon, citing that she, too, had noticed my belly. Ok now, this certainly didn't seem fair. I thought for sure my wife would be right there with me... And that fact that she sided with my teacher, gave him the ammunition to continue to taunt me about my belly. He even sang about it...

"My Dad's belly is big... yeah... he doesn't want to exercise... yeah... his belly will get bigger and bigger... yeah yeah..."

Ok now, believe me when I say that my belly is defiantly NOT song worthy! Granted, I agree that I have not exercised in a while, and in my opinion, for good reason. My teacher began to skip back and forth in front of me as I lay on the couch, singing his song AND jabbing his finger into the side of my stomach after each pass... with no sign of this assault coming to a halt.

So yes, eventually, my teacher's finger prodding, singing, and guilt trip worked. We went on a bike ride around the neighborhood. As we rode, I heard my teacher voice on my behalf that "I was glad to be out riding around". Of course you can imagine what I was really thinking. Here’s a hint, it has to do with the couch! But afterwards, those endorphins kicked in and I was really glad to have gotten a little workout. My mood improved right away.

In a nutshell, the lesson that I was reminded of that day is: One of the most important things you can do for your health is to exercise on a regular basis. It balances your moods, relieves stress, and gets rid of the belly fat.

About the Author:
Originally from Colorado; now residing in Alabama. Hal is married and has a son. Hal loves the outdoors, especially snowboarding and plays ice hockey on a weekly basis...and of course, always learns from his son.


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